All my life I’ve never wanted to run a marathon. I have, however, wanted to SAY I’ve run a marathon. I spent years figuring out a way I could honestly accomplish that goal and ultimately yielded to the fact that, sigh, in fact, I was going to have to actually RUN 26.2 miles to say I did one.
After coming to this sad conclusion, I conjured up the next best plan, for my “I’d-rather-not-self”: if I was in fact going to have to actually run over 26 miles (something only lunatics do btw), I was going to at least, run it with my Dad. (Who falls in the lunatic category simply because he typically runs more than one of these a year! In fact in the last 5 years or so, he’s run NINE. To me that equates to crazy times nine!)
This was a great idea – well, besides the part that included the 26.2 miles of running. Dad was a great choice. I love having Dad and Daughter time, he loves running marathons, and he knows what he’s doing. IF I had to actually do one of these things – this was the best way to go for it.
So alas, I resigned myself to the fact that it was time to sign up to do one … and only ONE … race.
Next thought: might as well make it magical. Disney here we come!
So last January, against my better judgment, I signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon. With a foreboding feeling in my gut, I not-so-eagerly paid my $140 entrance fee. To which I thought – “man, you really are dumb. (sometimes I sound like what my grandma Sanders used to say out loud to people) you are PAYING a lot of money to undoubtedly kill yourself.” (add “fool” to this conversation as well while we’re at it.)
When I started training, I required myself to have the perfect storm for running: good tunes in the itunes library, perfect weather (not too hot, not too cold) and cute running attire. ;)
Slowly (very slowly) I built up my mileage, all the while telling my friends, “I’m pretty sure I’m gong to die when I run Disney in January.” Sure, I can be a bit melodramatic I suppose, but I wasn’t entirely convinced I was created to be able to do this.
I was decent about getting out to run, but kept telling myself I had a lot of time before the race, I could take it slow. I think my Dad noticed that my “training” plan was a bit haphazard and being the engineer and dad that he is, somehow when I wasn’t looking, I got grand-fathered into his training plan. Doh!
That was good. Because he got me on track and kicked me into a higher gear so I could actually contend with the 26.2 monster in my future.
Then about four months ago, things came to a stabbing halt. One day after a run, I had a weird pain in my leg. It wasn’t that muscle pain you feel when you’re sore and want to whine. It was more one that when you take a step you get a sensation like someone is stabbing you with a knife … every step. Fun, right? It was so bad that at one point, I had a moment where I needed to run to catch Isaac and I couldn’t get there. (Side note: teach your kids the command “stop.” It saves lives.) Another time when Ben and I were crossing a road I got a flash of what it might look like to be road kill. So, I got a CT scan and an MRI, and a warning from my doctor that I might have to cancel my race.
8 months into training was when I realized how much I really actually WANTED to RUN this race – not just say I did it any longer – actually RUN it. By the Glory of God, my leg pain subsided a week or so after my CT and MRI showed up clear. I was back in business!
I’d lost two months so I had to really make up some ground. We worked hard and I kept on top of keeping my leg healthy. By the end of our training plan, I had become the running geek my dad probably always dreamed he’d have for a kid. (LOL) I was eating prunes instead of Gu (don’t knock it they are WAY better than that liquid snot stuff), tracking my runs on Nike Run, and actually looking forward to long runs. In fact, I have come to the point where I don’t enjoy the short runs as much any more.
This is all because I run my long runs with my dad and love running with my Dad. We have the best conversations and it’s just nice to get to have that Dad/Daughter time together. There’s no pressure when we run. We take it nice and slow and “enjoy the journey.” I never dreamed running could be enjoyable. But it’s really very fun.
This past weekend I accomplished my goal. I ran the 2013 (20th Anniversary) Disney Marathon with my Dad. I loved every minute of it! It was sooo super fun!
Honestly, it felt like one big running party! We ran through all four theme parks, on the Richard Petty racetrack and the Atlanta Braves Spring Training field. There was entertainment, camaraderie and treats galore! I’m so proud of my accomplishment I’ve already donned the coveted 26.2 sticker on my car and I kind of think of might wear my medal for the next two weeks. Best part of the whole thing … I ran it with my Dad.
When I asked myself the night before the race why I was doing this … knowing that for a year I had said in my head, “because it’s on my goal list,” this time, the night before the race, I said to myself, “Simply because I can.”
And I can’t wait to do it again.